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Department of Criminology & Justice Studies

The Department of Criminology and Justice Studies at Drexel University features hands-on career experience, community-based courses, and one of the only curriculums in the U.S. to integrate crime mapping, hot-spotting and intelligence analysis.

How did the War on Drugs of the '80s and '90s impact urban communities, from street-corner dealing and violence, to overall community health? How do so-called Three Strikes laws typically influence the decisions of judges at sentencing? How far will the War on Terrorism push the legal boundaries of government surveillance? How is “big data” used by justice, intelligence or private organizations to identify social networks, assess risk, and make decisions about crime policy and resource deployment? Drexel University's Department of Criminology and Justice Studies empowers students to address these and other issues of crime and justice policy.

We offer three concentrations

  • Criminology and Justice Policy
  • Justice Informatics
  • Criminal Justice
    • Each criminology and justice studies area offers students foundational knowledge and the tools of the discipline, while allowing them to specialize in their area of interest.

What is Criminal Justice Studies?

What is criminal justice studies — and what’s the difference between criminal justice and criminology? Criminology refers to the study of crime and justice in society. It uses sociological, psychological, technological and legal perspectives to theorize the causes and effects of crime and justice policy. Criminal justice generally refers to the application of those ideas and theories within a judicial system, with a focus on law enforcement and corrections. Despite the differences between criminal justice and criminology, the disciplines share a focus on preventing crime and ultimately creating safer societies.

The Drexel Co-Op for Drexel Criminology & Justice Studies Students

Through Drexel's renowned cooperative education program, criminal and justice studies students experience six-months of full-time employment, exploring their career options, strengthening their résumés and building a professional network in the process.

The Department of Criminology and Justice Studies offers a four-year, one co-op option; and a four-year, no co-op option. However, we strongly encourage students to take advantage of the co-op program.

Learn more about the Drexel Co-Op Program

Community based Learning in Crime and Justice Studies

The College of Arts and Sciences offers a range of community-based learning courses that allow students to immerse themselves in course material and learn side-by-side with community partners. To explore justice studies in America, we take our students straight to the source; we offer two of our core courses in community settings — one of which (Prison, Society and You) is taught in a local prison.

View Current Community-based Learning Classes

“Dr. Cyndi Rickards stated in the course Prison, Society, and You that 'People, are not/cannot be inherently bad, but instead just make bad choices.' That will always stick with me."

Khalil McFarlane

BS Criminology & Justice Studies
& Sociology '21

Read more CJS Student Stories

Recent News

  • Photo of Kathleen Powell on blue and gold Drexel background Meet Assistant Research Professor of Criminology and Justice Studies Kathleen Powell, PhD Kathleen Powell, PhD, is an assistant research professor in the Department of Criminology and Justice Studies, with a joint affiliation with the Center for Public Policy. Broadly, her research examines the various impacts of involvement with the juvenile and criminal justice systems. She focuses on identifying person-level outcomes of being arrested, on community supervision or incarcerated.
  • Blue Drexel dragon logo Kris Unsworth, PhD, Named Director of Center for Science, Technology & Society Kris Unsworth, PhD, from the Department of Criminology and Justice Studies, has been appointed director of the Center for Science, Technology and Society, effective Fall 2021. She will lead the planning and implementation of initiatives to increase the visibility of the Center both inside and outside the university.
  • Headshot of Keisha April on blue and gold Drexel background Keisha April MS ’18, PhD ’20 Works to Change Policies, Practices in Criminal Justice Keisha April, PhD, a recent graduate of Drexel’s Clinical Psychology PhD program, won the Art Nezu Dissertation Diversity Award for her dissertation “Let’s ‘talk’ about the police: The role of race and the intergenerational transmission of police legitimacy attitudes in the legal socialization of youth.” This prestigious award recognizes an individual whose doctoral dissertation makes an outstanding contribution to the field of professional psychology and diversity and/or multiculturalism.
  • Two students are at an event. Both are smiling and one student has her arms raised above her head in celebration. College to Mark Return to Campus with ‘CoAS Comes Back!’ Celebration The College of Arts and Sciences, recognized by President John Fry as “the heart of the University,” presents CoAS Comes Back! on Tuesday, October 5, from 3 to 7 p.m., in Gateway Garden. All Arts and Sciences students, faculty, staff and alumni are invited to gather, connect in person, and enjoy food, fun and music.
  • Drexel Dragon Logo Blue Congratulations to Our 2021 Gilman Scholars We are pleased to announce that four CoAS students have received Gilman Scholarships to support study or co-op abroad in 2021. Congratulations to Manmeen Kaur, Elana Sargent, Jade Umstead and Brenda Vong!

More News

Upcoming Events

There are currently no upcoming events.

Prospective Students

Please email coas@drexel.edu or call us at 215.895.1805 with any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!


Undergraduate Advising

Mica Storer, Academic Adviser, Drexel University College of Arts and Sciences

Mica Storer

Senior Academic Adviser
3401 Market Street, 110-H
215.571.4628 | mls46@drexel.edu

Contact Us

Department of Criminology & Justice Studies

3401 Market Street, Suite 110
Philadelphia, PA 19104
215.571.4628 | rek76@drexel.edu